Focus Grasshopper, Focus

by Alan Kandel

I have yet to meet a person who can listen and talk at the same time. I’m not saying that such a person doesn‘t exist, but I’ve yet to meet up with them. Can listening and talking at the same time actually be done? I, personally, don’t see how. For one, there is a serious imbalance. Two ears versus one mouth. The scales are obviously tipped in favor of hearing, but even so, my suspicion is people are better speakers than they are listeners. At any rate, even if listening and talking could be done simultaneously it would take an inordinate amount of skill, not to mention focus. Did someone say “focus“? Ah, focus. If you want to know where I‘m going with this, please read on.

At this point you may be asking yourself what all this has to do with karate training? Lots. Like a sharpened focus, the answer to this question should become ever clearer.

Who reading this doesn’t know or isn’t aware of the importance of focus in life? Focus, meanwhile, when pertaining to karate training is also important. As a matter of fact, this point can’t be overemphasized.

To use a parallel, think of focus in terms of it having to do with driving a motor vehicle. It takes diligence - meaning concentration or focus - to do so effectively. A momentary lapse in driver concentration (or judgment) and there is the potential for disaster. The same could be said for defending oneself against an adversary and it is with this in mind that focus has much meaning and relevance.

Plainly and simply, in karate training, for technique to be effective, maintaining focus is important. Maintaining control is too, but sorry; control is the topic for another post, not this one. Without focus, karate technique suffers. In other words, paying attention, or “being there” as it were, is essential. Remember, losing focus or put another way, letting one’s guard down, may be all it takes for an adversary to get the upper hand or give an opponent the edge.

Whether behind the wheel of an automobile, practicing martial arts, or just living life, focus grasshopper, focus.

Copyright Alan Kandel. May 18, 2012.

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